Traditional Scottish Clothes for Women

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Traditional Scottish clothes for women are simpler and lesser known than the colorful garments that characterize clothing for men. .As in most cultures, social status and wealth informed how people dress in Scotland, and these notable wardrobe items involve the use of tartans -- which are the criss-crossed, clan-identifying fabric. Used over plain and long skirts or dresses, the traditional Scottish clothes for women are a significant reminder of the history and legacy of Scottish people.

Scottish Sashes

  • Sashes are light tartan scarves worn over a shoulder and across the chest. The different ways of crossing the sash signaled the woman's social class. The wife of a clan chief would wear the sash crossed above the waist, over the left shoulder, where it was fixed with a brooch. Other women in the clan wore it crossed over their right shoulders. Married women, who wanted to wear their family's tartan, could wear the sash over their right shoulder joined together in a bow on the left hip.

Scarves and Arisaids

  • The arisaid is a woolly, long and wide scarf, which reaches down to the ground and looks like a cloak. Women wore it plain or pleated, or over a petticoat during the colder months. The arisaid did not have tartan patterns; it was often plain with a colored border. To wear the arisaid, a woman fixes it around her waist, using a belt. Then, she wraps the rest around her shoulders and head.

Kertch or Snood Headwear

  • A married woman wore a kertch, which was a linen head square. Single women wore a snood, which was a long ribbon passed under their hair at the back and fastened with a bow on top. Some women preferred to wear a mutch, which was a close-fitting linen cap.

Tonag or Guailleachan Tartans

  • Also called guailleachan in Gaelic, the tonag is a square piece of tartan worn over the shoulders and fastened in front with a brooch. Designed to protect against the rain and cold weather, a tonag was often passed down as a heirloom through the generations. Women often wore the tonag over the arisaid.

References

  • Photo Credit Sarah Dorman/iStock/Getty Images
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